Thompson’s Big GOTV Push in the Bronx

Firefighters are anchoring an effort that the former comptroller’s campaign says includes at least 400 volunteers.

By Brianna McGurran

Published in City Limits, Sept. 10, 2013

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Karla Ann Cote/City Limits

Francis Thomas, deputy campaign manager for Bill Thompson for Mayor, said today that 400 to 500 volunteers have been deployed across the Bronx to encourage community members to vote for Thompson in the Democratic primary.

The campaign’s canvassers are targeting likely primary voters in the borough. “We have a good idea of what our voters look like,” Thomas said. He foresees that about 700,000 people will vote citywide, and is hopeful that the Bronx will turn out strong for Thompson. “We have a lot of institutional supporters,” he explained, including Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and the Bronx Democratic Party.

One group spreading the word across the Bronx is the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York, which endorsed Thompson for mayor. Handing out pamphlets today at the Hunts Point Ave. 6 train station, firefighter Matthew Guth was enthusiastic about a Thompson win. “Compared to Bloomberg, it’s like a breath of fresh air,” he said. He also observed that turnout among Bronx residents he’s talked to seems high. Though it was only 8:30 a.m., “A lot of people said they already voted.”

Another firefighter, from Ladder 48 on Seneca Ave. in Hunts Point who asked not to be named, said he supports Thompson because the candidate will keep firehouses open. “It creates jobs, it’s great for the community,” he said. Closing firehouses is also a safety risk, the 20-year veteran firefighter continued, because in emergencies it will take first responders longer to reach the scene from farther away. “The response time for a fire is crucial.”

He turned quickly to a rush of commuters walking past him on Hunts Point Avenue toward the subway. “Vote for Thompson!” he shouted. “He’s the winner, not the Weiner!”